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Keeping Score on the Oscars

It's like this: I just don't believe in thumbs up or thumbs down. Life doesn't usually work that way. It's not a matter of black and white, most of the time, but of a rich and subtle pallette of grays that always makes things interesting.
That's why the annual Oscar piece I write always involves a lot of hedged bets.
It's also why, every year, I steadfastly refuse to be as cynical as I could be and wind up predicting --against all cynicism--a couple awards I'd like to see that circumstances, nevertheless, mitigate strongly against.
Usually, the message I get on Oscar night is "go ahead. You really need to be more cynical, not less. If you're always as cynical as possible, you'll never be wrong."
I just didn't believe that all the factors mitigating against an Oscar for George Clooney in "The Descendants" would wind up doing him in. Or that the combined mojo of Meryl Streep and Harvey Weinstein would be enough to deny a Best Actress Oscar to Viola Davis, so extraordinary and memorable in "The Help."
Ah well.
The way I score it this year, I batted .767--10 for 13. That's because I sometimes give myself half credit for knowing --and saying--all the reasons that my prediction might not be the right one in my annual tipsheet. Hey, it's my scorecard, so why shouldn't I mark on curve (back when I first started doing it, Oscar tip sheets were almost nonexistant.)?
On the subject of Meryl Streep finally winning over Viola Davis (who won the Screen Actor's Guild Award)there is this to say: in the months leading up to Sunday's Oscars several stories from Hollywood reported the extremely low percentage of black voters in the Motion Picture Academy.
You don't suppose those stories were trying to tell us something, do you?
--Jeff Simon

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